Conservatives no less prominent than Ben Shapiro have recently been saying and writing that the election of Donald Trump was astounding in light (and perhaps because) the left had already won the culture war. It sounds reasonable, especially as Shapiro puts it. But is it true?
Sarah A. Hoyt has written a post regarding the “cold civil war.” It’s well worth reading, if only because she has a different take on the culture war. Her’s, as I understand it, is that the left certainly believed they had won, but they were mistaken. What happened, she posits, is that the left certainly enjoyed a significant period of power and influence. In fact, they were so well-entrenched that those somewhere to the right of them effectively hid, only occasionally venturing a comment or action. Thus, we have the assertion by many people, gun owners for instance, that they have never been polled regarding gun ownership or lied (or would lie) in response to questions (if they answered at all).
While Hoyt doesn’t mention it, I believe one of the most devastating things to occur to the left was the 1994 “assault weapons” ban and the price the Democratic Party paid for it. It was by no means the end of the left or the Democratic Party. It was, however, a sign to non-leftists that things could be otherwise.
Ultimately, Hoyt suggests the big factor may have been the internet. It has allowed people an unprecedented access to information and differing views. I think she is likely right. In spite of the tendency of many to spend their time in cyber echo chambers, this access to information that differs from what is provided by more traditional sources has allowed to see things like “what really happened in Benghazi and the horror that was Fast and Furious.” She notes further this sort of thing (bad events and being able to see how their reality differs from official pronouncements about them) has led to the precipitous drop of approval for the MSM.
This certainly helps explain the behavior of those on the left since the election and inauguration. They thought they had won. The culture war was supposed to be over and they have now discovered, to both their surprise and horror, that not only did they not win but the end is arguably not even in sight. This, combined with an unspoken and unspeakable fear that they may soon experience what conservatives (and recently, libertarians) endured for so long. Certainly the jury is still out on that, but I, like Hoyt, could see it happening.